Australia adviser urges improved reporting of methane emissions

19th December 2023 By: Bloomberg

Australia adviser urges improved reporting of methane emissions

Photo by: Bloomberg

Australia needs to improve the accuracy of fossil fuel producers’ reporting on greenhouse-gas emissions, especially on methane releases from opencut coal mines, a review of the nation’s climate reporting systems has found.

Targeted changes are needed to ensure the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act and the Australian Carbon Credit Unit system “remain fit-for-purpose” as the nation seeks to meet 2030 and 2050 climate targets, according to two reports by the Climate Change Authority, an independent body that advises the government.

“Over the past five years, developments in satellite technologies and inverse modeling techniques have resulted in a new source of data to estimate fugitive methane emissions from individual facilities,” the CCA said. “Some of these satellite observations have raised questions about the accuracy of estimated fugitive methane emissions from coal mining and oil and gas operations in Australia.”

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, a think tank, in July pointed to “gross under-reporting” of methane leaks in Australia. The potent greenhouse gas is responsible for roughly a third of the Earth’s warming, and satellite observations of emissions in Australia have suggested that reporting mechanisms weren’t capturing the full scope of releases from operations in one of the world’s biggest coal and natural gas exporters.

“The CCA review reads as a scathing rebuke of Australia’s existing methane monitoring system,” said Chris Wright, a climate strategy adviser at energy think tank Ember. “The report outlines the urgency of immediately phasing out 20th century estimates and ushering in a 21st Century-ready measurement and transparency framework that is critically needed to better capture and reduce emissions from Australia’s fossil fuel sector.”